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Why Soft Skills Matter: 2010 Job Outlook. Beverly Amer, Northern Arizona University. Backstory. Soft Skills are: Traits, attitudes and behaviors rather than technical skills and abilities More important than ever in today’s job market A challenge to teach in “technical” courses!.

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Why soft skills matter 2010 job outlook

Why Soft Skills Matter:2010 Job Outlook

Beverly Amer, Northern Arizona University


  • Soft Skills are:

    • Traits, attitudes and behaviors rather than technical skills and abilities

    • More important than ever in today’s job market

    • A challenge to teach in “technical” courses!

Why do soft skills matter job outlook 2010
Why Do Soft Skills Matter?Job Outlook 2010

  • Annual Survey – National Association of Colleges and Employers

    • Across all industries and regions of US

  • College Hiring:

    • DOWN 7% for 2010 grads over last year

    • DOWN 37% in West

Top five majors west
Top Five Majors - West

  • Mechanical Engineering

  • Finance

  • Electrical Engineering

  • Accounting

  • Business Administration/Management

What employers are looking for
What Employers Are Looking For

  • Greater emphasis on GPA as an interview screen

    • 75% of employers use a GPA screen

    • Most common cutoff is 3.0 GPA

  • On resume’ – choosing one candidate over another

    • Leadership position

    • Major

    • High GPA (3.0 +)

    • Extra-curricular activities

    • Volunteer work

What about work experience
What About Work Experience?

  • 76.6% prefer someone with relevant work experience

    • Internships count here

And soft skills
And Soft Skills?

  • Communication skills top the list of attributes employers desire most

  • Other attributes near the top:

    • Strong work ethic

    • Initiative

    • Interpersonal skills

    • Problem-solving skills

    • Teamwork skills

Oddly enough
Oddly Enough…

  • Attributes employers list as MOST LACKING in college graduates?

    • Communication skills

    • Flexibility/adaptability

    • Tactfulness

    • Initiative

    • Teamwork skills

    • Note: Only 2.3% of employers reported that computer skills are lacking

Soft skills case study communication skills
Soft Skills Case Study:Communication Skills

  • Scenario: First research report assignment at work

    • Topic: Workplace entrepreneurship

  • Decision: What should I include in my report and e-mail message?

  • Video from Soft Skills at Work

Video critique
Video Critique

  • Task

    • Review Jill and Marcus’ reports and e-mail messages

      • Correct errors

  • How did they do?

  • In a CIS course, where could this be introduced as an assignment?


  • Swap papers with another group

  • Assign a grade – how did we do?

Why i teach communication skills e mail etiquette
Why I Teach Communication Skills & E-Mail Etiquette

  • “I submitted the wrong one, i will attach it to this file, oh and i put average next to the average cause it didnt make sence not to, and im sorry if i was just meant to tell you and you would forget about that one but idont know if i will be here in the morning to check my email but yai will just attach it to this file, well see you tomorrow”

Soft skills your students
Soft Skills & Your Students

  • How can you help your students start developing their:

    • Communication skills

    • Interpersonal skills

    • Problem-solving skills

    • Teamwork skills

Making room
Making Room

  • Use the technology you are already teaching

    • Wordone-page written summaries

    • PPT presentationin groups

    • Excel spreadsheet analysis to accompany Word reports

  • Entire workbook integrated into course

Resources to help you
Resources to Help You

  • Soft Skills at Workworkbook for students

  • Web site from Cengage


  • New! “Pro Skills” incorporated into New Perspectives Office 2010 First Course lab manual

Contact me
Contact me!

  • [email protected]